Search This Blog

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Handmade not equals to Cheap

I often get questions as why handmade apparel or home items are priced higher than regular items. Another question asked is why handmade apparel in departmental stores are cheaper than an individual crafter or artist price. It was not until I began to turn my hobby into a business that it finally dawned on me the high price for clients and the sacrifices of the crafter and artist have to make to both share the beauty of handmade items.

So let's take a crochet or knitted tote as an example based on material, quality, experience,time and location.

Materials - Handmade crochet or knitted handbags are made with 2 to 3 balls of yarn depending on size. Lower priced, lower quality yarn can cost an average of $2.50 per ball  and better quality yarn  can be as much as $10 per ball. If  lower quality yarn is used, the price of materials are about $5 to $7 and higher quality yarn can be from $10 to $30.

Experience and Quality -  There are so many crocheters and knitters but in buying any handmade item, the quality and exprience of the crocheter plays a role in a well finished, well made handbag. Checking the stitches and the sturdiness of the handbag and finishes of the product will provide you some insight into the quality. Most handmade crafters have learned their craft well and since it is not a machine doing the work, they ensure that every stitch and finishing of the product is of good quality. Even though quality does not have a tangible amount, an additional $10 -$20 is added for excellent work.

Time and location - This is a huge piece of handmade pricing. Take for example that a crafter will pay himself or herself $10 an hour. A handbag can take up to 6 to 8 hours from start to finish.   At $10 an hour, the total time spent on producing the handbag is $60 to $80. Crafters, Artists make a living with their crafts and talent hence the items is not outsourced or sent to a third world country to be produced  at pennies an hour.

Pulling all these together, the total pricing of the handbag should be between $95 to $130!  Now we all know that in some departmental stores, you can find the same handbag between $25 to $40. In high end stores, you may find it closer to the original price. When you visit a handmade website or craft show or handmade stand, most crafters discount their products at least by 40%  and the bag may be priced at $50 to $65.  Hence artists or crafters barely make minimum wage, sometimes less than minimum wage.

Crafters, Artists do what they do with passion, care and quality to enrich our lives, to make us feel good about wearing or owning a hand made item. They cannot be compared to the departmental stores or high end stores. So when you visit a handmade store, boutique, show, try to remember that it is not made with a machine; it is made with care and quality and it is a way of living for someone so enjoy your visit and if you can, purchase an item.  If you cannot, wish the crafter or artist well and commend them for a job well done.


1 comment:

  1. I think people struggle with pricing most of all. It's tricky!